A person was struck by a motorist along Shelbyville Road at Flat Rock Road in far eastern Jefferson County early Thursday morning, March 3. The incident took place just before 5:00a.m. near the Eastwood neighborhood.
The unidentified person was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and WDRB reported that the Louisville Metro Police Department did not send a traffic unit to investigate the collision because the person’s injuries were not serious enough.
Our investigation of the crash scene via Google maps reveals that there are extremely limited sidewalks (and no crosswalks across Shelbyville Road) in the area. To find a crosswalk across Shelbyville, a person would have to walk over two-and-a-half miles west to Beckley Station Road—without sidewalks. There are no other crosswalks in Jefferson County in the next two miles east and we presume you’d have to go pretty far into Shelby County to find one.
Turning radii to side streets are oversized to allow fast-paced turns by motorists and farmland is rapidly being filled up with intermittent residential, commercial, and industrial sprawl making the walkability problem even worse.
While the area may look rural now, at the current pace of exurban development, this area will be filled up with more auto-centric spec homes in no time. And is we look at past precedent, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will follow in line with road widenings that will make this stretch of Shelbyville even more car-centric and dangerous for people.
The speed limit here is 45 miles per hour, but a lack of signalized intersections and poor street design promotes higher speeds. Just half a mile to the east, the speed limit jumps to 55 miles per hour.
As we know, a person struck by a motorist traveling 45 miles per hour already carries a 90 percent chance of fatality. It’s fortunate that this collision didn’t result in more serious injuries.
Sadly, all three news outlets reported the pedestrian collision as a simple traffic delay, focusing on the road closure from the outset. Take these report introductions: “Shelbyville Road reopened…”, “A portion of Shelbyville Road was closed in both directions…”, and “Shelbyville Road was shut down for a time…”
It’s inappropriate to treat a potentially deadly incident as just another traffic nuisance. And it’s symptomatic of Louisville’s larger street safety problem that the local news looks at street violence with such indifference.
Furthermore, WDRB called the collision an accident and none of the reports indicated that the motor vehicle that struck the person was operated by a human being.
Louisville is currently in the midst of a three-year pedestrian safety campaign called Look Alive Louisville. The federally funded program is in response to the city’s above average pedestrian fatality and collision rate.